Simon Halep hopes to fill in a missing piece of her clay trophy collection this week at the WTA Stuttgart event, the only European clay title she has yet to claim.

The Romanian takes the second seeding behind Australian Ash Barty.With Halep peaking so far here with semi-finals in 2015 and 2017.

“I want it badly. It’s a nice tournament, nice conditions, the people are very nice to me here,” clay aficionado Halep said on Monday.

“It’s one of my goals to win this tournament as well. I want to win all the clay court tournaments if possible.”

Halep has already sacked away trophies in Madrid (2016, 2017)  Rome (2020) and won Roland Garros in 2018.

But the quest indoors in Germany has never been easy for the 29-year-old.

“All the opponents are very strong from the first  match, it’s tougher than the other tournaments and also the clay indoor probably is not my favourite..

“But I’ve played good matches here, I have won against top players. I cannot say I don’t like it. I like it but it’s a little bit tougher to win this tournament.”

Halep will be going the distance this season with Australian coach Darren Cahill who is effectively exiled by the ultra-strict COVID-19 regulations in his inflexible home country.

“He will be with me because he can’t get back home – so he’s stuck with me,” she said.

“He’s been in Romania for one week. We trained very well back home. Now, he’s here for the first time and it’s nice to have him the whole clay court season.

“It’s my favourite season and to have him means a lot. I have confidence when he’s around and, yeah, we have great days.”

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